On Friday, June 3, Shar Hoffman entered into eternal rest. For two and a half years, she fought a hard fight against pancreatic cancer. I first met Shar when I was State Director for Concerned Women for America (CWA) in Kansas. She used to jokingly say that I "birthed" her as an activist. Shar was an invaluable part of CWA of Kansas for nineteen years, serving first as a Prayer/Action Chapter leader in November 1992. In March 1997, she accepted CWA of Kansas State Director Judy Smith's invitation to become the Associate Director for the state organization.
CWA honored Shar on three different occasions for her work with CWA of Kansas. She received the Outstanding Steering Committee Member Award in 2000. In 2003, Shar was once again honored as the Outstanding Steering Committee Member. On that occasion, Barbara Plating, then-National Field Director, shared these words about Shar Hoffman: "This lady goes above and beyond the call of duty. She single-handedly organized the Encourage-A-Legislator program in her state — a very successful program. She never complains; she never refuses to do anything that needs to be done. Her director considers her to be 'one who comes alongside.' She is humble; she's wise, and it's very evident that she walks closely with the Lord."
In presenting Shar with the CWA Woman of Excellence Award in 2008, I said, "Every now and then God brings a lady to CWA who can only be described as a 'Woman of Excellence.' We have been blessed with such a lady. Every State Director prays for such a helper as this lady. She does any job that needs to be done. She is truly a 'right hand' to her State Director. When circumstances occurred that temporarily kept the State Director from fulfilling all of her duties, this lady stepped out of her comfort zone and stepped up to do all that needed to be done, and she did it all while maintaining her sweet, endearing spirit."
She will be missed greatly. She was an integral part of CWA, but even more than that she was a sweet sister in the Lord. I was privileged to be able to visit with her just weeks before her passing. We had a couple of sweet times of sharing memories and reflecting on God's goodness to us over the years. When we parted, we did not say good-bye; we said, "I'll see you again — either here on this earth or in glory with our Lord." As God has numbered her days, it will be in glory!
The following are tributes written by Shar's friends and colleagues at CWA. Judy Smith has been State Director for CWA in Kansas since 1997. Shar walked alongside of Judy as they worked to make CWA of Kansas an effective state organization. But even more so, they were the best of friends. They were the perfect fit for the job they did for CWA. Everything Shar loved to do, Judy disliked and vice versa — the perfect combination for a winning team in Kansas.
We offer these tributes in memory of a dear sweet sister in the Lord.
"Now when he had finished speaking to Saul, the soul of Jonathan was knit to the soul of David, and Jonathan loved him as his own soul. Saul took him that day, and would not let him go home to his father's house anymore. Then Jonathan and David made a covenant, because he loved him as his own soul. And Jonathan took off the robe that was on him and gave it to David, with his armor, even to his sword and his bow and his belt."
1 Samuel 18:1-2
The New Covenant was established in the upper room when Jesus shared the Last Supper with His disciples; one of the results of that shared supper was that Jesus began to call His disciples "friends," a covenantal term, indicating that "two become one," that everything is shared — robes, protection, fidelity — a bond that cannot be broken.
Sisters who were so different
Shar and I were sisters in Christ, so we had that eternal bond, but we also shared an earthly bond that was, for me, very much like the friendship Jonathan and David shared. I believe that she felt the same way about me. We were two very different people; she was quiet and not given to many words, while I am always trying to fill every empty space with words. She didn't like to be in the limelight, and she didn't like conflict. I am not a person who seeks the center stage, but I am willing to place myself there for a good enough cause. I hate conflict, too, so we often laughed about why God would pick two people who normally would run from confrontation to represent CWA in Kansas, a state that seems to in a constant state of warfare. We joked that our guardian angels were probably begging for new assignments, because we regularly got ourselves in trouble.
A friend comes alongside
Even though Shar was quiet and hated conflict, she always had my back; she protected me, stood up for me, and encouraged me when my melancholy temperament got the best of me. She told me when I was too intense, she critiqued the occasional sarcasm in my writing, and she provided the technical skill here in Kansas.
A gentle rebuke
She was a prayer warrior, instilled with the gift of faith and the gift of discernment so sorely needed in these perilous times. She was a good listener; our conversations were often lop-sided with my verbal barrages, but at just the right moment she would say something profound that would bring everything back into focus. She often told me to "take a breath," which reminded me that I was in the danger zone on the intensity meter.
A gentle encourager
She invested herself in people; she was our "unofficial" prayer chapter coordinator, drawing people into working with us by her quiet and low-key approach. She would talk to people after I had left them gasping with all the overwhelming details of the culture war and gently resuscitate their desire to help us in their gifting. She was astute about figuring out what people could do and encouraged them with her gift of exhortation.
Using her gifts
God gifts us all in different ways; He give us the "robes" that equip us to do special tasks for Him. Ephesians 2:10 states, "We are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them." Shar was His masterpiece and used the gifts He gave her to do the special responsibilities He had prepared for her. We all benefited greatly from her willingness to use her gifts. I believe one of those tasks was to come alongside me, to allow a "knitting together" with me, to share her skills and her love with me, and to protect me as Jonathan and David did for each other. She did her job well, and I can only hope that I held up my part of the bargain. She was my best friend, and I will miss her so much, but I cannot be selfish; she is in such a good place right now, and as her friend, I am rejoicing with her. I asked her to "save me a good place" and she smiled. I know she will because she is my friend forever.
It's amazing how someone can continue to bless and influence your life even after that person has gone home to be with the Lord. I think about Shar and the godly way she handled herself when writing or speaking about God's truth as she worked to protect children and families. She had a wonderful sense of humor and always exhibited such joy and at the same time could address the critical issues she worked on in a gentle yet powerful and skillful way. She was and will continue to be an inspiration and example to me in the way she lived her life as a wife and CWA leader. She will be greatly missed.
Shar Hoffman embodied the spirit of CWA. She was a Godly woman, tireless worker, dear friend and American patriot. Her sense of joy permeated all she did and was a constant example to all of us. We miss her very much, but know she celebrates happily with the Savior she loved and served.
Shar Hoffman radiated joy, and her deep faith in God spilled over into love for others. You could always count on her warm smile and good humor as she tackled the difficult issues of our times. Shar left a beautiful watermark on all the lives that she touched.
Gil and I were privileged to sit at the same table as Shar and Hal Hoffman at our very first CWA dinner. Since that time, we have become very good friends and have enjoyed renewing that friendship at numerous CWA events over the past decade plus. It is always a joyful reunion to get caught up with their lives and enjoy their fellowship. Both Shar and Hal are down-to-earth people with keen senses of humor and profound faith. We have enjoyed their friendship and mourn the loss of Shar; her work for CWA spans decades and has influenced so many people to a deeper walk with God and more understanding of the issues that are the bulwark of a strong Christian nation. We will miss Shar's wonderful smile, her wit, her strong faith, and her deep commitment to CWA. Our prayers are with Hal during this time of loss and grief.
Shar was special. The complete trust she demonstrated in our Lord stands as quite an example for all to recognize and emulate. We can always remember her quick smile and her bountiful love for God, her husband, and for her friends. I count it a blessing that I was able to know her at least for a while. It seems that she lived fully in our Lord's grace until He called her home. I pray that Hal is surrounded by close friends and family to sustain him in the days ahead.
Many have spoken of Shar's innate joyfulness over the years - how she simply radiated joy. When the news arrived of her homegoing, the first image which sprang to my mind was of Shar Hoffman bursting into Glory and dancing down the golden streets. I can't get that picture out of my mind: it's such a joyful thing to do and she's no longer restrained by a body fighting illness! Our hearts are sorrowful at our separation and we pray the Lord will comfort Hal and all who love her... even as we yearn to dance with her in the presence of the Lord. May her Memory be Eternal.
I wish I had known her better. I only met her briefly two years ago, but I admire her strength and determination to not give up in her battle until she actually heard God say, "Time to come home, Shar."
I have known Shar since the beginning of my involvement with CWA. She always had a smile on her face and was willing to do anything she could for the pro-family cause. She will be missed greatly, but I know she is rejoicing in Heaven.
I don't remember when I first met Shar. I have been a member of CWA for almost 20 years and met her at one of the national events. I remember Shar as faithful and joyful. I have never been around her where she wasn't smiling and making others smile. I have been so blessed by her postings on Caring Bridge over these last couple of years. We will miss her so much.
Shar Hoffman was a very special lady. Just the word "Shar" makes me smile. She was a woman of great faith, hope, and love. I always picture her smiling, and we all enjoyed her terrific sense of humor. Everyone loved Shar to pieces before she got cancer, and then we came to admire her all the more as she battled cancer with great class and courage. At the time that Shar entered the long, hard stretch of end-stage pancreatic cancer in the last few months of her life, I was training for my first marathon. When I ran the race on May 15, 2011, Shar's name was written on my arm, and my prayers covered her as I pushed through the 26.2 miles. I was able to complete the marathon, and now Shar has completed hers. My time was nothing to brag about, but Shar should receive an Olympic gold medal. She can say with St. Paul, "I have finished the race, I have kept the faith" (2 Timothy 4:7). Love you, Shar. Rest in peace.
Some heroes make no noise; they are simply strength in a void. They herald no parades, but they are the hands behind the banners. They post no media to their credit, yet encouragement radiates in wide circles from their smiling eyes. Such a hero was Shar Hoffman. When needed, she held the reins though they made her uncomfortable. Her joy was in making the organization, not herself, successful. Her indomitable spirit gave encouragement to others even when her physical body was under attack. Her demonstration of perseverance will give meaning to our work for years to come. She was a hero. We will miss her!
So many words come to mind when I think of Shar Hoffman: genuine, bold, helpful, loving, and kind. Shar was one of the first people I met while attending my first leadership conference. It was such a pleasure to get to visit with both Shar and Hal each year when we gathered in Washington, D.C. What a joy to see that twinkle in her eye and that "I so love Jesus" countenance on her face. And who can forget those wonderful PowerPoint presentations she meticulously created and then shared with the rest of us! We have all lost a fine woman of faith and a true warrior in the cultural war.
It is always so sad to lose a warrior for the Lord. I remember the fight in Kansas against the abortion clinics, and their tears that we saw in D.C. I know Shar is with our Lord, but she will be missed by all those who loved her. My prayers go out to Hal and her family.
After hearing the praises of Shar Hoffman for years, I finally got to meet and visit with her during a directors' luncheon at one of our leadership conventions. By this point, she was well into the battle for her health, yet her outlook was bright and her energy undaunted. Whether daily chores or the possible health struggles ahead, one had no doubt she would give it her all. Hearing her rebound after a battle was always amazing, but really not surprising after coming to understand how incredibly strong she was in spirit and will. I met her after her diagnoses, and so it consumes much of what I know about Shar, but I have to think that her courageous battle was but an endnote to an even greater legacy. I'd heard about her and the tireless work she had done years before. Anytime Shar's name was heard, it was with the highest praise for her steadfast work and her faithfulness to the Lord in boldly carrying His torch of truth. In fact, I think that's likely how I will remember her — a down-home smile, friendly eyes, and a big torch. It will take several to lift the torch she once carried.
North Carolina will greatly miss this remarkable servant-leader. We knew Shar more in her dying days as she exemplified tremendous inner strength and a living faith in her Lord Jesus, Who now says to His precious daughter, "There shall no longer be any mourning, or crying, or pain. ... and He who sits on the throne says, 'Behold I am making all things new'" (Revelation 21:4-5). Our thoughts and prayers are with Shar's family as the Lord fills their hearts with His comfort and His peace.
I will always remember Shar for her beautiful friendly smile. She wanted me to include her in my South Dakota e-mail alerts because she had family in South Dakota and was interested in what the issues were in our state, especially during the state legislative session. Shar was deeply committed to the work of CWA and, most important, faithful in her commitment to the Lord.